Caramel Popcorn

We all know that time sure does fly by, although we often try to avoid thinking about it. Minutes turn in to hours, days turn in to weeks, months turn in to years. Before you know it, life has slipped through your fingers. Moments come and go, only lasting long enough for our minds to take a quick snapshot with the hopes that our memory will find it worthy enough to store away forever.

This is how I feel as I reflect on the past month; like time is flying by and all I want to do is find the remote and press pause. I want time to stand still, I want to remember everything. Where have the past few months gone? What have I been doing? How have I let a month slip in between my baking and more than a month slip in between my posts!?! Yikes!

Even though I haven’t been baking or blogging, I know I have immensely enjoyed everything I have done recently. Yet I still sit here wondering how all this time has gone by so quickly.

Reflecting back, I have actually been doing quite a lot. I have spent this time exploring the unfamiliar world of life after college, allowing new and exciting people into my life, spending time with family, traveling whenever I get the chance, and of course trying to be the best I can be– All things that I believe are time well spent. I have come to realize that I am happy to spend as much time to these things as possible, as they are the things that bring joy and brightness into my life. So I guess what I am trying to say, as I come to the end of my little reflection, is how important it is to take time to reflect on what you have been doing recently. Are you enjoying yourself? Are your recent activities worth your precious time? What, if anything, can be done differently? It’s nice to consistently look back on how life is being spent- it brings a breath of fresh air into any pressures on your life, it allows you reorganize what is important to yourself, it give your mind and memory a chance to catch up, and it allows you to see where your happiness truly stems from.

So take a moment, reflect on your life- hopefully it will brighten up your lives a little bit, and in return you could brighten up someone elses while you are at it 🙂

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One thing I love to make is caramel popcorn. This has always been the perfect thing to make when it comes to providing homemade gifts for large groups of people. Its quick, easy, can be made in bulk, and of course delicious.

This past 4th of July I decided to make it for a work BBQ I was going to. I have made it a few times for my company before so I knew it would be a huge hit.

I hope you enjoy it as much as they did! Remember, if you are going to try it you better be ready to eat a whole lot of it. Once you start is is really hard to stop!

Caramel Popcorn

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 cups light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3 tsp vanilla extract
  • 8-10 quarts popped popcorn
  • 1 1/2 cup nuts
  • Oil or oil spray

Steps

  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Spray two large pans with oil and divide the popcorn and nuts between them.
  2. Over medium heat, melt butter in a medium saucepan.
  3. Once melted mix in brown sugar, corn syrup, and salt. Bring to a boil, string very often.
  4. Once the mixture is at a complete boil, let boil for 4 minutes without string.
  5. Once the 4 minutes is up, remove pot from heat. Stir in baking soda and vanilla. Stir well until mixture become a light caramel color and becomes very puffy.
  6. Pour mixture over the two pans of popcorn. Using a rubber spatula, mix the caramel and popcorn as much as possible.
  7. Bake for 1 hr, stirring mixture every 15 minutes.
  8. To cool, put parchment paper on your countertop and transfer popcorn onto it.
  9. Enjoy 🙂

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Try not to eat it all 🙂SONY DSCEnjoy 🙂

Carmel popcorn also makes really easy gifts or party favors. Just put some in a bag and tie a pretty ribbon around it and everyone will think it so creative and adorable!

Carmel popcorn also makes really easy gifts or party favors. Just put some in a bag and tie a pretty ribbon around it. Everyone will think it is so creative and adorable!

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2nd Attempt at Gluten Free Banana Bread

Huge beads of rain bounce off my bedroom roof, creating a soft humming noise which would normally lure me into sleep.  The small spaces around my curtains briefly light up as a quick flash of lighting illuminates the sky beyond my windows. Its moments like this that used to rush me out of my cozy little room and into my parents’ room where I would nestle up next to my mom, in fear that my wildly active and naive imagination would come true. Years later, although the spontaneity of todays weather still brings a slight tremble into my bones, I find some sort of relaxing aurora to the unknown world beyond my curtains knowing that these small little storms are what make those bright, warm and sunny days so much more precious.

I sit here, trying to find mindless things to do as I continually procrastinate the unpacking that should be going on. I believe this is partially due to the denial I am in as I realize that I will never be moving back to St. Lawrence again and partially due to the fact that unpacking one large part of your life is quite a tedious and slow process. Its a form of denial every one of us goes through as one enchanting chapter of our life comes to an end and a concealed one sits in our impending future, just waiting to be opened.

Who knows what is to come in the pages that follow the conclusion of my life at SLU, who knows what chapters lie ahead. I guess I am pretty excited to find out what will arise as I start down a new path and who will be supporting me along the way. All I can say is that I hope I can share the happiness that each and every day brings to me with all of those around me. ❤

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One of the last weeks of college I decided to try out one more gluten free banana bread recipe. Knowing that once out of college I would really have no need to bake things gluten free, I decided to try a recipe I had been wanting to make for months. Turns out I like this recipe much more than the first one I posted 🙂

Here it is and I hope you enjoy!

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Gluten Free Banana Bread 

Ingredients

  • 2 cups gluten-free all-purpose baking flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups mashed ripe bananas
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 tbs coconut oil
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 dark organic chocolate bar, chopped

Steps

  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Combine flour, baking soda and salt
  3. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs, bananas, sugar, applesauce, oils and vanilla
  4. Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients just until moistened
  5. Stir in chocolate
  6. Transfer into muffin tins or to two 8-in. x 4-in. loaf pans coated with cooking spray
  7. For muffins bake between 16-22 min, for loaves bake between 45-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean
  8. Enjoy 🙂

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Enjoy

Enjoy

Gluten Free Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

Do you have a friend who has Celiacs disease or some form of Gluten intolerance? In this day and age who doesn’t? It seems like gluten allergies are popping up left and right! And, unfortunately for them most of the recipes that people bake are swarming with gluten!

I actually live with a friend who has had Celiacs disease for about 7 or so years! Although she is probably used to it by now, I can only imagine how annoying it is for her when she walks in at night and smells a fresh batch of cookies knowing she cannot have them. It always makes me feel a bit bad knowing about 95% of what I make is gluten filled. I always have the intention to make her something but it often falls through.

Up until this past week, every time I made something gluten free it was from a box. It always pains me to crack open those boxes, mix in a few eggs and water, and then bake. Its just not the same. And to me, a person who loves to bake, it feels like I’m cheating myself and the person i am making it for. However, in the past the thought of making something gluten free would force a huge dark cloud over my head- What if I did something wrong? What if gluten slipped in somewhere and I got a friend sick? I would hate to mess it up.

However, this week I put this fear a side and started exploring a new field of baking which I had yet to do. I did this by making a few different things as well as Gluten Free Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins. Below is the recipe.

Hope it brightens up your gluten free friend as much as it did mine :p

Sorry for the lack of photos of each step, I made this recipe before I had this blog in mind.

Gluten Free Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cup gluten-free flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup mashed bananas (about 3 bananas)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 3 tbs vegetable or sunflower seed oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 dark chocolate bar- chopped

Steps

  1. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt.
  2. In small bowl, whisk together eggs, bananas, sugar, applesauce, oil, and vanilla
  3. Pour wet batter into dry mix. Mix. Stir in chocolate.
  4. Bake in greased muffin pan for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted into middle comes out clean.

Enjoy 🙂

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I was a little nervous about how they would turn out.

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But they actually turned out great 🙂